CRANACH, Lucas the Elder
(b. 1472, Kronach, d. 1553, Weimar)

Ill-Matched Couple: Young Girl and Old Man

c. 1530
Oil and tempera on red beechwood, 39 x 26 cm
Museum Kunstpalast, Düsseldorf

The subject of the Ill-Matched Couple was a favourite of the Cranach workshop, more than 40 versions of it is known. (The contemporary name for these pictures was Amorous Pair.) The subject existed as early as the fifteenth century and was chiefly the subject for prints (e.g. the engraving by the Master of the Housebook), but Cranach developed it further in his own way and refined it. In addition to the standard formulation of unambiguous gestures he explored the psychological depth of the subject and played it out in numerous different versions.